I have been cooking regular white Basmati for years and have perfected the method to get it to perfection (solid, tender, not mushy).

Recently, I decided to try brown Basmati because I heard brown rice is healthier. I first tried cooking it the same exact way as white but, once the water was all evaporated, I realized the rice was still really hard and needed to cook more, so I added more water. After the second addition, the rice was alright but also turned mushy and grains stuck to one another. I think it takes 50% more water to cook than white Basmati.

Typically, what I do with white is I bring 3.5 coffee mugs of water to a boil with 1.5 tsp of salt and some oil to prevent sticking to the pot. Note I am not using a rice cooker. Then I add 1.5 coffee mugs of rice and reduce the fire just down to where only very small 2-3 bubbles are coming at a time. That gets my white Basmati to perfection. I used 5 mugs of water with brown rice, the rice finally got necessary tenderness but also was mushy.

I understand that brown rice is much better for you but the biggest reason I am so much in love with Basmati is the texture, long grain and being able to cook it yet each grain can be separated. If I can't learn to cook brown Basmati like that, I might just go back to white.

Can anybody hint how to achieve the same texture with brown Basmati?

  • Have you tried pre-soaking it?
    – citizen
    Commented Jan 7, 2013 at 20:12
  • No. I never had to presoak white. More detail, please.
    – amphibient
    Commented Jan 7, 2013 at 20:13
  • I rarely cook rice myself, so I can't tell from experience, but I've heard soaking it for half an hour before cooking it will make a better rice. Applies to white rice too.
    – citizen
    Commented Jan 7, 2013 at 20:43
  • I always pre-wash (several times) and soak (for about 30 mins) basmati rice before cooking it as this removes some of the starches that cause it to clump together and go mushy. Commented Jan 7, 2013 at 21:49

6 Answers 6


The basic differences between white and brown rice is explained below (as written here):

An important first question to ask about all rice-and for that matter, most foods-is how much it has been processed. In the case of rice, processing usually involves milling and polishing. The outermost layer of rice, called the hull, is removed to make brown rice. Brown rice is rice with the whole kernel intact and the kernel is still surrounded by all layers of bran.

To produce white rice, the bran layers of the rice have to be milled off. Most of the rice germ is also removed during this abrasive grinding process. At this point in the process the rice is called milled, unpolished white rice. Finally, a wire brush machine is used to remove the aleurone layer that remains on the rice. This step is called polishing. As polishing is not an all-or-nothing process, semi-polished rice may still contain parts of its aleurone layer.

Additional information about brown rice (here):

[Brown rice] has a mild nutty flavor, and is chewier and more nutritious than white rice, but goes rancid more quickly because the germ—which is removed to make white rice—contains fats that can spoil. Any rice, including long-grain, short-grain, or sticky rice, may be eaten as brown rice.

So, because they are processed differently and have different parts of the grain intact or removed, your method of cooking is going to vary.

I have used this method of cooking brown basmati rice with pretty good success. It includes washing the rice a number of times prior to cooking and adding salt. This method advises adding oil after the cooking process, but I typically add it into my rice while it cooks, or even sauteeing the grains in oil then adding water to the pot to cook.

It is also suggested that leaving your brown rice to soak for 15-20 minutes (and sometimes even longer) can be beneficial as well.

All of that aside: if you're looking to stick with a flavor and texture similar to that of white rice then brown rice may not be your thing. I know that as a jasmine rice eater I do not particularly care for the texture of brown (even brown jasmine). As mentioned above it does have a "nutty" flavor and is "chewier" regardless of how well/properly it is prepared. It changes the flavor and feel of every dish I serve it with. Just a heads up.


Try a quick sauté of the rice in oil or ghee before adding the water for boiling/steaming. This will also impart a nuttier flavour to the finished rice (like roasting nuts.)

Alternatively, add oil or ghee in during the fluffing process at the end.


To prevent mushiness you need to:

  1. Always buy and cook the same brand and type of rice.
  2. Thoroughly rinse to wash off any "loose" starch. Water must run clear, not milky.
  3. Soak the rice for 20-30 minutes in plenty of cold water, then drain.
  4. For each cupful of rice use 2 cups of water and salt to taste.
  5. Bring to the boil, then simmer over a low flame with closed lid cook until the water has been absorbed.
  6. Remove lid and cook off any residual steam and break up with a fork.
  7. Stir in some butter or ghee.

An alternative is to fry the rice in butter or ghee until it is translucent after step 3., then continue as above, but omitting step 7. If the rice is still too mushy following the above method, simply reduce the amount of water used next time. This is why using the same type and brand of rice is recommended.

You may find brown rice is simply not to your taste. It is fundamentally more chewy and "nutty". IMO there is nothing worse than mushy brown rice.

  • 2
    "Always buy and cook the same brand and type of rice." doesn't prevent mushiness UNLESS combined with "experimentally tune your soak and cook times and water ratio to that brand". Commented Sep 21, 2016 at 14:23

When I am using brown rice in a recipe, such as Spanish rice, I cook it in lots of water like you would do for pasta. Salt the water. Rinse the rice, place in a pot with lots of water, 1 cup of brown rice to at least 4 cups of water. Bring to boil, then reduce to simmer. Stir occasionally and check for desired done-ness after about 1/2 hour. Depending on the rice brand, this could be longer or shorter. Don't let all the water be absorbed. Add more hot if needed. When it's as done as you like, drain in a fine-holed colander or sieve. Rinse with cold water if you want it for a cold salad. If it is for a hot recipe, drain well and continue.


I soak the rice in water for 30 minutes. Then, I cook two cups of the rice in three cups of water. I bring the water to a boil and add a little touch of olive oil to the water. Add rice and reduce the heat to a low level. On my gas stove, it is a level three. Level six maintains a boiling temperature to give to an idea. So, I reduce to level three and cover. It slowly cooks for about twenty minutes and comes out perfect!


No matter what kind of rice I am making, I do one simple thing. After following directions as to how much rice and water, and bringing it to a boil, I place a clean washcloth or dish towel over the top and then put the cover on. I cook the rice for as long as directed. It always comes out perfect.

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